Sunday, August 17, 2014

How to Cut Spaghetti Squash

I want to show you the safe way to cut through spaghetti squash.

Use a serrated knife to cut the ends. Cut just enough to give a straight edge, so you can work with it, safely.

Some will tell you to take a large knife, and cut down the center of the squash. Have you ever tried that?! It is very difficult, and you don't have a secure knife. This puts you at risk of injury. Do not do it like this!!!

Instead, use a paring knife, and circle your way around the squash.

There are two cutting lines, in this photo. I wanted to point out the curved line is using the large knife. See how you start to lose control of the cut. It goes the way it wants to. Looking at the line, using the paring knife, you can see the cut is straight.

Once the squash is halved, use a spoon to scoop out the innards. The seeds can be roasted, the same as pumpkin seeds.

Here is the comparison: The top photo, I used the paring knife and got a uniform cut. The bottom photo, I used a serrated knife, but was having a tough time cutting, so I enlisted the help of my santoku knife. It was a difficult task, and the end result is a sloppy, uneven cut.

Saturday, August 9, 2014

Jarrene's Hot Fudge Sauce

I'm sitting here, trying to think what I am going to write about my Mother-in-law, Jarrene, when I stumbled upon this black and white photo. I really love black and white photos. There is a certain nostalgia, found in them. Isn't this photo the most darling?! Look at that car! And, that dress! I wouldn't be surprised if she made, the dress, herself. It certainly looks like she is showing it off. One of the best gifts my Mother-in-law gave me, besides this recipe, was to teach me an easy way to sew in a zipper. That lesson has come in handy!

Besides sewing, my Mother-in-law is an exceptional cook. She is always testing new recipes. I'm not sure when she found his Hot Fudge Sauce recipe, but she had it perfected, when I met her, back in 1988. The recipe comes from her treasured cookbook, The Joy of Cooking. (Probably 1975 edition).

* I am going to say this is an adaptation of the recipe, because we are using different cooking techniques, and we are not using vanilla extract.

To give you some idea of how popular this family recipe is. It is August the 9th, and so far, we've had this recipe at least 8 times, this year! It never gets old.

The recipe starts with melting 2 ounces, of your favorite brand of unsweetened chocolate, over a double boiler. We did that, for the correctness of the recipe, but you can melt it, on low heat, directly in the sauce pan, and save washing an extra bowl.

Other options include:

* Unsweetened cocoa powder:  3 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder + 1 tablespoon vegetable oil = 1 ounce. You would need to double this measurement to get the two ounces.

* Nestle Choco Bake:  Each packet is 1 ounce. You would need two packets. This is my Mother-in-law's choice. The choco bake is hard to find, though. We order through

Once you've melted the chocolate; add to the sauce pan: butter, water, sugar and corn syrup.

* An alternative to using corn syrup would be to use honey.

Stir until sugar dissolves.

Bring the mixture to a boil, over high heat. Once the mixture comes to a boil, cut the heat back  to medium high. At this point, it is critical to keep an eye on the pot; watching for a boil over. Let the mixture boil for 5 - 8 minutes.

5 minutes:  A smooth sauce, that doesn't harden.

6 - 7 minutes: A sticky sauce, that hardens like softened taffy.

8 minutes: A hard sauce, that becomes stiff like hard taffy.

We aim for the softened taffy consistency. Pull it off the heat right between the 6 - 7 minute mark.

Let the burner cool a bit, then you can return the pan, to keep the sauce warm. We do a serve yourself approach, and let people spoon the sauce, directly out of the pan. You'll want to make the sauce just prior to serving the ice cream, as it crystallizes when it cools.

Try to drizzle the sauce, in small streams.

Because, as it hardens, you will have one large glob to deal with, if you don't stream the sauce.

This is Hot Fudge Sauce nirvana. The sauce came together nicely, and is spooned in small streams; making it perfectly easy to eat.

The sauce has a slight pull to it.


2 Ounces unsweetened chocolate squares - or- 6 Tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder + 2 Tablespoons vegetable oil - or - 2 (1 ounce) Packets Nestle Choco Bake
1 Tablespoon butter
1/3 Cup boiling water
1 Cup sugar
2 Tablespoons corn syrup - or - 2 Tablespoons honey

Melt chocolate in a sauce pan. Add butter, water, sugar and corn syrup. Cook mixture over medium high heat, until it comes to a boil. Reduce heat to medium high heat. Let sauce simmer, rigorously, but not furiously. Boil for 5 minutes, for a soft sauce. 6-7 minutes, for a softened taffy sauce. 8 minutes for a hard taffy sauce. Remove pan from heat. Let the burner cool a bit, then return sauce pan. Serve immediately. Serves 8-10


If you are lucky, you may have a little sauce left over. It will look like a crystallized mess. Your instinct will be to throw it out. Don't do that. We can bring it back to life.

Start by spooning the sauce into a microwaveable bowl. Add just a bit of water, to loosen the sauce. Microwave in 20 second intervals.

Stirring, until the mixture has become smooth again.

This is the reheated sauce. It is just as good as the fresh made version.

Friday, August 1, 2014

The Fat Bastard

The Fat Bastard is a sausage, egg and cheese croissant sandwich smothered in sausage gravy. Talk about a mouthful! If you eat this for breakfast, chances are you won't eat anything else the rest of the day.

The recipe starts out with Sausage Gravy.

A toasted croissant, sausage patty, cheddar cheese and 1 egg, cooked any style.

To plate; place the bottom half of the toasted croissant on a plate. Top with the sausage patty.

Add cheddar cheese and an egg.

Put the lid on the sandwich.

Cover with gravy!

Dig in!


1 Recipe (see Sausage Gravy)
4 Croissants, cut in half
4 Teaspoons butter, for croissants
4 (2 ounce) Sausage patties
4 Ounces cheddar cheese, divided
4 Eggs, cooked to order
Butter and olive oil for frying eggs

Prepare sausage gravy as directed. Heat a large frying pan, or a griddle, over medium-high heat. Toast croissants; set aside. Cook sausage patties until browned. Add a little butter or olive oil to pan fry eggs, as desired. To plate: Place the bottom half of the croissant on a plate. Top with a sausage patty, then cheddar cheese and egg. Place the top half of croissant to form a sandwich. Cover sandwich with hot sausage gravy. Serves 4.